Cholangiocarcinomas (CC) frequently demonstrate lymphatic spread. We investigated lymph node (LN) counts after resection of extrahepatic CC and survival based on the SEER 1973-2004 database. Out of 20,068 CC patients, 1,518 individuals were selected based on M0 stage and at least one LN examined. Primary cancer sites included gallbladder (29%), extrahepatic bile ducts (26%), and intrapancreatic/ampullary bile ducts (45%); 42% of patients were LN-positive. The median number of LNs examined was four (range 1-39). Median survival was 37 months for LN-negative and 16 months for LN-positive cancers. Multivariate prognostic variables were the number of positive LNs, primary site, age (all at p<0.0001), gender (p=0.002), size (p=0.005), T category (p=0.009), and total LN count (or number of negative LNs obtained, p=0.01). The impact of total LN counts was seen in LN-negative (median survival, 1 vs 10 or more LNs examined: 27 vs 51 months, p=0.002) and LN-positive disease (10 vs 22 months, p<0.0001). Survival prediction of extrahepatic CCs is strongly influenced by total LN counts and numbers of negative LNs obtained. Although the resulting incremental benefit is small, dissection and examination of 10 or more LNs should be considered for curative intent resections.
- Ampullary cancer
- Extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
- Gallbladder cancer
- Lymph node count
ASJC Scopus subject areas